Bi-Ax Brings Film From Corn-Based Polymer to Market
Bi-Ax International, a research-intensive film producer in based in Wingham, ON, is beginning commercial production of film made from Cargill Dow's NatureWorks PLA polylactide resin. NatureWorks PLA is derived from corn, a renewable resource, and...
Bi-Ax International, a research-intensive film producer in based in Wingham, ON, is beginning commercial production of film made from Cargill Dow’s NatureWorks PLA polylactide resin. NatureWorks PLA is derived from corn, a renewable resource, and is being presented as an environmentally-friendly option for packaging.
Bi-Ax president David Inglis explains that his company ran some film for Cargill Dow last year, and is planning to make the film commercially available this spring. “We have retrofitted one line specifically to run this product.”
As well as the “nautral” image being cultivated for the resin, Inglis notes that film made of NatureWorks PLA has physical properties that make it very attractive for certain applications. According to Cargill Dow, the material has excellent resistance to most fats and oils used in food products. Its natural surface energy readily accepts many ink formulations, and it exhibits less than 5% haze. Dead fold properties are 20% better than cellophane, while twist retention is equal to cellophane but better than all other films on the market.
NatureWorks PLA also has sufficient stiffness to be used for thermoformed rigid packaging and injection blow molded applications.
In various applications around the world, NatureWorks PLA is being used to package candies, fresh pasta, produce, deli meats and cheeses, portable radios and mini-discs. As well, one manufacturer is using the material to make compostable disposable utensils and drink cups.
In addition to being compostable, NatureWorks PLA is derived from a renewable resource, not petrochemicals. Although no petroleum is used as a feedstock, the heat, energy and transport involved in the production process use fossil fuels, so NatureWorks PLA ultimately uses between 20% and 50% less fossil fuels than the manufacture of traditional thermoplastics.